TORONTO - Dwane Casey had been thinking about starting surging forward Patrick Patterson for a while now.
An injury to mainstay Amir Johnson forced the hand of Toronto’s head coach Monday and the switch worked out well for the Raptors, 108-101 winners over New Orleans to snap a two-game losing streak.
Patterson paced the Raptors in scoring with 22 points, 10 in the crucial third quarter, DeMar DeRozan added 22 of his own and Kyle Lowry had 19 points, falling three rebounds shy of a triple-double.
Anthony Davis had 19 points for the visitors, but the NBA’s blocked shots leader failed to record one and grabbed just seven rebounds. Tyreke Evans had 23 points and 10 assists against one of his favourite opponents.
Toronto moved to 27-24 and a full game up on Atlanta, Wednesday’s opponent, for third in the East.
It was the first time in nearly two years that Johnson had to miss a game due to injury.